Wednesday, September 21, 2011


So...I'm doing a new Bible study at our church. It's weird to say our church, because it WAS our church for years before we moved to Maryland and joined 'our' church. Since we've moved, we've left 'our' church, and have been re-attending 'our' church and will rejoin 'our' church in the next few weeks. Moral of that paragraph? We are blessed to have been and be part of amazing church Maryland and in North Carolina. 'Our' church exists in a few states, and we are so grateful.

This study, Brave, by Angela Thomas, is AMAZING. Seriously. In the last two weeks I've been doing it, I really feel like God has been talking to me in some heavy-duty ways. I realized last week that I've been worn out...just exhausted...and it's been grief.

This week...discussing suffering thorns...yep, spoke volumes to me too. Mostly, the last part of the last day screamed at me: "What if our thorns are a part of God's perfect plan for me?" "Can we trust in God's perfect ways even though we bear thorns?"

The surface answer, for me, if I am honest, is, " Had all that trust in you before, God, and look what happened." If I am honest, up until this last few weeks, my trust has been that no matter what the consequences of life are, I'll survive...and that God gives me the grace and mercy and ability to do so.

But trust God? Like, trust what He actually plans and does? Not so much.

Because sometimes, those things HURT. Unbearably. Who wants that? Who wants to trust in that happening? Easier to just trust that you survive life's events with His help.

But not per His plan. Because that would mean that His plan meant Matthew was going to die. Matthew was destined to die. He allowed me to suffer 11 years of infertility and then gave me a perfect and wonderful little boy who was DESTINED TO DIE.

I've struggled with that for one year, nine months and twenty-three days.

Still struggle.

But am giving it to God and telling Him, "Yes. I can trust you."

Which is something I've not been able to say in a long, long time.

There's a lot going on in our lives. Too much to write about and yet, I probably should because I'll want to remember. Or not.

Instead, here are some pictures of my sweet, sweet boy. He got bitten by a mosquito last week that literally had me in tears calling the doctor because after three days, he still looked was his first black eye, because of a mosquito! We'll be addressing that with the doctor.

Within a minute of being bitten, he started to swell...about the size of a quarter! Then, over the next day, it turned into a shiner...this is him on the downside...

He also went on a small, but devastating to mama, nursing strike. We're working our way back to normal.

And that boy's eyes are BROWN. I love it. Both my boys have their mama's eyes.

He's always thinking!!!

Cookies are GOOD! (An organic vanilla teething biscuit...he LOVED IT!)
Cried when I took it!
Dixie came and made him feel better!

From our first playdate!! He wasn't sure of the swing!
Won our game Saturday, woohoo! (No, not WAHOO!)
Digs prunes too...thought he'd just suck it but he shoved the whole thing! I took it and broke it up, of course!

Getting some hair, finally! (LOVE that sweet swirl!!!)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Catching Our Breath!

This is the best view...sweet boy looking up at me from his walks!

Where to start? I am so far behind in the Luke updates! I have to admit that Facebook makes it super easy for me to upload pictures for updates for most, so the blog updates fall behind. A dear, dear, dear woman in our lives told me tonight that she was glad to be able to keep up with him through the blog, so after reading her email, I am sitting down and making the time to update, just for MA!

Luke is UH-MAZING! He gets more and more giggly and fun every day. He is 8 and a half months, and at last weigh and measure, he was 18 lbs., 5 oz. and a little over 27 inches. Those are not official stats, as we are using a different scale and way to measure his length, so we’ll get the officials at his 9-month appointment on October 6. His two little bottom teeth are growing nicely and so.darned.cute! The top two look like they are about to pop through any day, but they’ve looked like that for months, so….I have to say---teething has been SO not a big process for us and I am so grateful. Once or twice in the last few weeks, he’s had a couple of rough night patches, but for the most part…he’s a solid 12-hour or more a night sleeper and I am so lucky! Even when he wakes up some, he’ll talk himself back to sleep.

That boy is a talker. I do not know where he gets it.

Oh, yeah. I do.

Anyway…he’s definitely crawling more, but still not the full-on crawl. He’s more mobile (and REALLY mobile!) with his back-arch crawl, but after spending the morning in the base childcare center while I took a class the other day, and watching a 6 month old crawl, he has decided he’s at least interested in trying to do it the normal way. It won’t be long before we start putting the fences up because he is definitely a mover. He (like his daddy) does not necessarily love being still!

Yeah, diaper changes are SUPER fun! This is how he crawls around everywhere...including during diaper/clothes changes!

He’s getting a really funny sense of humor! When daddy reads his favorite book (Mama Llama books!), he’ll laugh. For instance, John will read a page and then stop…and when he stops, Luke will look at the pictures and sort of giggle at them as if he completely understands the funny of it all.

What in the WORLD is daddy reading?????

He loves to laugh. I love that. I love, love, love that my boy loves to laugh, because let’s face it, so does his mama.

Grateful for the many, many opportunities to do so that I am given.

We’ve started brushing his teeth with him at night as part of his bedtime routine and he LOVES it. Loves holding the toothbrush and sucking on it…loves the taste of the toothpaste (Weleda) and boy, does he have a GRIP! Again, like Mama, I think he’s going to be an overachiever with brushing and I’m thrilled!

Don't try to take the boy's toothbrush. It's not happening!

He’s eating more solids, but still not a fan of the veggies. He likes oatmeal more than rice; sweet potato more than yam; peaches more than plums and, to quote the day care worker the other day, “Puts a HURTIN’ on some PUFFS!”

His puff-to-mouth ratio is still in need of some work, ha ha!

Yes, he LOVES those Puffs! I’ll put a couple on his tray as I’m preparing his food and it’s hilarious to watch those chubby little wrists go FLYING for the Puffs! They are my go-to fixers of just about anything that is making him unhappy.

Would you STOP giving me VEGETABLES????

What the heck do you expect me to do with THIS? (We thought letting him try broccoli on his own terms might be fun. Ummm, no.)

Which, still, is not much. He is just such, such, such a good-natured baby. I will say, however, that some of his little temper DOES come out when he’s eating. If he doesn’t want it—he DOES.NOT.WANT.IT. He will grunt, groan, and GROWL! It’s so funny, I have to admit. I decided to try a whole pea the other day with him when we visited ECU and met up with Lindsay and Collen. We shared a pea with Luke and I thought we might have hit on something when Luke took the pea, put it in his mouth, and then didn’t growl or grimace. I was so excited!

Then I tried to give him a bite of applesauce…and the pea was still there. SEVEN TIMES I thought he’d swallowed the pea and I gave him another bite of applesauce. SEVEN times he managed to swallow all the applesauce but keep the pea in his mouth.

And (TMI warning) here’s the kicker…a day and a half later, that pea…came back out in his diaper. IN TACT. Seriously. I’m not lying. The pea was IN TACT.

That boy is something else. I just adore, adore, adore him.

Here are a couple of pictures from the last few weeks…I’m going to try to be better about them because I am feeling like I am getting behind and don’t want to….but I have to say, he’s so darned cute—there are tons and tons of pictures I COULD post!!! Good thing he’s so ok with me having the camera!

Getting to meet sweet little Collen! Let me tell you, that boy has (like is Mommy and his Papa!) some heartbreaking baby-blues! He was trying to get Luke to interact with him the whole time! Love it! It's flipping HOT! THIS is college football? (Yes, son, sometimes it is!)
It was hot as heck initially and that sweet boy was so tired, so he just napped in my arms for the first 40 minutes of the game (which, by the way, we won!)

He had a BLAST! All the people around us told us he was so well-behaved and that he looked like he was having so much fun. He WAS!
On our way home (we ate at the yummy deli in the background before the game!)...Daddy and Luke look like they had a tough time sweating that game out!
Yeah, 8 months!
"Does anyone else wonder why I often find myself sitting next to this froggy???"

He loves his Dixie Belle (and she loves to lick him!!!). He thinks she is the best thing in the world!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Light-Bulb Moments...

Sometimes, they just hit.

Sometimes, someone hits you with them.

Today, I was hit with a few.

I have to stop using the "My child died, so don't expect _______" card. In fairness, I don't think I use it that often, but even when I do, I am totally cognizant of the fact that I do, and that in and of itself makes me unhappy. I get mad when other people use Matthew's death to somehow be all about them, so why do I hold myself to a different standard just because I am his mom?

Life stinks...for a lot of people. Look at the famine in Africa right now. Watch the news and try not to cry over those poor mothers who can't feed their children. I cannot imagine Luke crying to me because he was hungry and I was helpless. I cry thinking about it. I do not want to use Matthew's death, and my residual 'hermit-yness', for lack of a better word, as excuses for not being the person God calls me to serve where He calls me to serve, and to do what He asks me to do. I often joke that we all have our crosses to bear, but I am jealous of those who carry 'tissue-paper' crosses when mine is more like cement.

Maybe it is, but that's no excuse for me to just claim "But you don't know my story..." and I do that. Again, not often, but I do. I want to stop.

Also, it may be pretty apparent (by my lack of writing, which a good friend says always worries her!) and in the conflicted things I write that I've been having a hard time of things lately. Hard time with being unsettled. Hard time with John being so busy. Hard time with missing my little cocoon of protection and support in Maryland. Hard time missing my boy....hard time feeling guilty about having a hard time.

Yes, just hard time.

So the other lightbulb moment thrown at me, when talking about the guilt that comes from being happy with Luke and not sad about Matthew (though I am, of course...) was this, "Luke not only wants you to be happy, he needs you to be happy. Matthew really doesn't care either way, does he?"

Nope. The reality is that it makes no difference to Matthew whether I am happy, sad, guilty, depressed, manic, content, whatever...but it makes all the difference in the world to Luke.

Don't get me wrong--Luke is a happy, happy boy and I know he knows that he is my whole world. It's very obvious to just about anyone that meets him that he is a very loved and happy baby, and very secure in his parents just being thrilled to be his parents.

But until a few minutes ago, that carried such tremendous guilt. It's just NOT NATURAL to be so darned happy and content when you have a child in a grave. Any way the coin is tossed, it's NOT. People don't understand how elation and devastation can coexist and again, it's mostly because those two feelings usually are not naturally felt together. Being so happy to be Luke's mom and to love him and mother him, I feel guilty because I AM happy...even though Matthew is dead.

That guilt is so powerful, but I'm not going to give it any more power. My guilt does NO one any good. It doesn't honor or respect Matthew...he doesn't even know or care.

But Luke does. It matters to Luke. Or could matter if I allowed it to. My counselor told me about a patient who lost a sibling at an early age, and remembers his mommy and daddy always being sad after that happened.

I have to give both John and myself credit in that I don't think we let the grief of losing Matthew color our relationship with Luke--Luke is just so darned easy to love and cuddle and be so happy for and with. He really doesn't ever see either of us with anything but pure glee on our faces with every single thing he does!

I intend for it to stay that way. I want him to know that his brother passing was the worst thing in our entire lives, but that it didn't break us. It almost did...but didn't. And that Luke is so easily capable of making our hearts full. I don't want him to ever think that he wasn't enough...or that he never had the fullness of our love because our grief stole that from him.

The grief is there...and will always be.

But I won't feel guilty about not letting it steal what is rightfully Luke's...the knowledge that he is supremely loved for who HE is. Matthew being gone will never change, but Luke's security in what he means to this family depends on us. As I said, he's so darned lovable, it's been easy to be completely in love with him--to the point that sometimes, I feel guilty that I love him so much and can't easily show the same love for Matthew.

No more guilt over that. I'd love him like I do whether or not Matthew was alive, and that's how it's supposed to be.

Speaking of...he just woke up from his (2 hour!) nap and is calling for mama. Today, at 12:08 pm, he made the sign for milk and TOTALLY meant it. That boy is growing up so much.

I love every second of it. Guilt free.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


So, I've been guilting myself because I have to catch up on THREE WEEKS of Luke on this, 'his' blog...and I haven't because I've had these things on my heart and in my mind that I've wanted to write about Matthew. So, not really having the time to do both (or either, really) I've neglected both. Don't want to put things about Matthew off just because Luke is living and therefore, won't write about Luke until I get Matthew thoughts written...which just leads to nothing getting written and a lot of guilt hanging over my head.

But in catching up with a sweet, sweet friend this morning, her words struck me: "It boils down to who the blog is for."

I know she was trying to make me feel better about wanting to write what I need to write--thoughts about whomever I need to air and not feeling like I had to choose one over the other. And she did (thank you!) make me feel better..because there was a moment of really strong clarity I'd forgotten.

When I found my mom's blog years after she died, I felt like I found a gold mine. "Blogging" for me started when we were going to adopt because I wanted my children to know my thoughts and feelings. Obviously, a very therapeutic and cathartic-in-the-process way for me to share my thoughts, but bottom line: for my children to know me.

The reality is...Matthew will never read this. Luke will.

He grows so quickly. He changes so much EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. My thoughts rarely change. It's important to me to chronicle him and not lose anything more than I already feel I lose just because time moving so quickly takes it away. I give myself so much guilt about not keeping up with all his milestones as I should (teeth! Dada! crawling!) and I need to just start being better about keeping up with them to get rid of that guilt.

So...I will. And when I have something I need to get off my chest, I will...because I'll have done a better job of keeping up with Luke, ha ha!

Starting...tomorrow, of course. Right now, Giggles and I are going to practice some crawling!

Oh, and our first football game is coming up this weekend at ECU! We are going to meet up with our (albeit, Pirate!) friends Lindsay, Jeremy and Collen. CAN'T WAIT! GO, HOKIES!

I mean, with this guy on their side, how can they NOT win????